Don't Get Stuck Inside Just Because the Weather is Cold

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Don't Get Stuck Inside Just Because the Weather is Cold
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Although it may seem as if you are confined to the indoors when freezing temps force you to bundle up, cold weather can offer your family opportunities to get creative during winter. In fact, just because the temperature drops, it doesn’t mean your family activities have to stop. From sledding and snowball fights to nature walks and science experiments, cold weather can offer your family much more than red noses and chilly feet. Bundle up with coats, hats and gloves and set out on a family adventure that promotes bonding, activity and memories that will keep you warm.

See the Sights
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See the Sights

If the roads are clear, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the local sights just because it is cold. “I love to get in the car with my family and look at all the Christmas lights,” says Andrea Bazemore, Washington, D.C.-based parenting expert and founder of the Positive Energy Group, an online organization promoting positive thinking. “We usually bring some hot chocolate and kettle corn along with us to snack on while we enjoy the ride.” If holiday lights are not gleaming, make it a lesson in history while driving by monuments, museums and landmarks.

Conduct Science Experiments
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Conduct Science Experiments

Instead of crowding the couch, why not launch a scientific experiment? According to Richard Peterson, vice president of education at Kiddie Academy in Abington, Maryland, with the proper cold weather gear, families can enjoy outdoor activities while testing the impact of cold temperatures: What happens when you blow bubbles on a wintery day? How long does it take a bowl of water to freeze when left outside? “Food coloring can also be fun to use with snow – children can test the difference of dripping food coloring from a dropper or spraying it from a bottle,” says Peterson.

Play Snowy Baseball
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Play Snowy Baseball

Len Saunders, New York-based author of “Keeping Kids Fit” recommends a game of snowball baseball, complete with a whiffleball bat, a soda can and snow. Set up a soda can as home plate and prepare players for a baseball game, says Saunders. The pitcher throws a snowball instead of a ball. “Once the batter hits the snowball, they must run the bases without stopping,” he says. “The field team makes snowballs and throws them at the soda can from second base and if they can knock over the can before the runner gets to it, the runner is out.”

Watch Out for Birds
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Watch Out for Birds

Even though many birds fly south for the winter, there are plenty of creatures to keep your eye on during the cold weather months. John Schaust, chief environmentalist of Wild Birds Unlimited in Carmel, Indiana, recommends families participate in winter bird watching. Simply set up camp in your backyard and count the type of birds you see within a specified time period. “Teaching children about nature helps them develop an appreciation and respect for the environment and inspires them to develop a strong relationship with nature that they wouldn’t experience if they were indoors all of the time,” says Schaust.

Launch a Scavenger Hunt
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Launch a Scavenger Hunt

Unique educational opportunities are abundant when snow and ice cover the area. Winter’s cold temperatures change the outdoor landscape quite a bit, creating a perfect opportunity to play a game of ABC scavenger hunt, says Richard Peterson, vice president of education at Kiddie Academy in Abington, Maryland. “After proper bundling, walk around your neighborhood with a notebook to record one item for each letter of the alphabet,” says Peterson. “You’ll get much different results in the winter than had you played the game in the summer since there are no icicles or snowmen to record in July.”

Pack a Picnic
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Pack a Picnic

Growing up as a child in the Ukraine, Anastasia Dekantios, childcare expert with Cultural Care Au Pair in Long Island, New York, had first-hand experience playing outside in cold temperatures. She recommends a picnic adventure through the forest or at a local park when the temp drops. “Bring some hot drinks in thermal containers, sandwiches and go on an adventure,” says Dekantios. After lunch, take the kids on a nature walk or hike. “Hiking is always great and will keep everyone warm,” says Dekantios. “Choose short and rewarding hikes for more fun in the cold weather.”

Get Fit With Fido
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Get Fit With Fido

Put a different take on summer time activities by launching a game of freeze tag, soccer, hide and seek or Frisbee when snow has covered the ground. The physical activity will keep you warm while you’re competing against each other. It’s also a perfect opportunity to get your furry friends out and about and active with the family, says Dr. Wendy Anderson-Willis, pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “Many dogs will find frolicking in the snow as much fun as we do,” she says. “Throw the Frisbee or stick and have them hunt for it.”

Create a Custom Skating Rink
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Create a Custom Skating Rink

Instead of traveling to an ice skating rink, make your own in your driveway or backyard, suggests Anastasia Dekantios, childcare expert with Cultural Care Au Pair in Long Island, New York. “Use a water hose or buckets of water to create a layer of ice on the ground or the pavement,” she says. “It is pretty quick to make (depending on the weather) and also a lot of fun for all ages.” After bundling up and strapping on boots, elbow and knee pads, the entire family can slide around in your very own custom rink. Ice skates are optional.

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